Because they are trained to treat the whole patient, nurses are particularly well equipped to understand, promote and facilitate true collaboration. At Children’s Medical Services in Southeast Florida, interprofessional collaboration has been highly effective in treating medically fragile children with chronic health illnesses and specialized health needs. In fact, the nation’s health care system as a whole benefits when health professionals work collaboratively and in fully functional teams.
The Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (2010) focused on interprofessional collaboration as a critical component in fully leveraging the potential of nurses to improve health care delivery. Following publication of the report, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched a new initiative, the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which is working to address the increased demand for care by using all of the skills, knowledge and experience of nurses.
As this story demonstrates, interprofessional collaboration is much more than simply two or more health professionals working side by side. It demands recognition of each provider’s unique expertise and a willingness to work together to best meet patient needs. True collaboration enables health professionals to provide care for patients that is more coordinated and more patient and family centered. In this story, a multidisciplinary team of health professionals who respect and understand what each member brings to the table demonstrates why collaboration is the best approach to caring for patients with specialized needs.
At the Children's Medical Services in Southeast Florida, nurses, physicians, social workers and other health care professionals collaborate as full partners. The result: care is more coordinated and more patient and family centered, especially for the most medically fragile patients.